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Q&A With Dylan Lesko: Winning Gatorade Baseball Player Of The Year, Why He Chose Vanderbilt

Buford High School star Dylan Lesko added another achievement to his résumé this week, as he was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

This past season, Lesko had an 11-0 record with a 0.35 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 60 innings. Buford High School head coach Stuart Chester was so impressed by his star pitcher’s abilities on the mound that he called him the most talented player he’s ever coached. 

“Dylan Lesko is, without a doubt, the most talented player I have coached in 30 years,” Chester said, via the Gwinnett Daily Post. “His greatest quality is his character and ability to lead and make everyone better and feel important. He always puts others first.”

Chester may have a point about Lesko being the most talented player he’s ever coached. Soon enough, Lesko will be suiting up for the Vanderbilt Commodores and competing for NCAA championships.

We caught up with Dylan Lesko to discuss what it was like winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, what he’ll bring to Vanderbilt’s baseball program and more.  

The Spun: What was it like having Francisco Lindor surprise you with the Gatorade Player of the Year award? 

Dylan Lesko: It was amazing. Just being surprised by someone of his talent means a lot to me. 

The Spun: Is this award a bit more special to you since it’s not just about baseball?

DL: It does because I pride myself on being a good person in the community. I’m not just a baseball player, there’s more that I have to do – keeping my grades up, helping people out. So being rewarded for that means a lot. 

The Spun: Your coach said you’re the most talented player he’s coached in 30 years. What does that mean to you? 

DL: That’s a huge honor because I know he’s one of the most winningest coaches in Georgia history. I know he’s had talented players and draft picks in the past, so hearing that is a huge honor. 

The Spun: There are several reasons to choose Vanderbilt, but what about the school stood out the most to you?

DL: I’d say their coaches and their ability to produce draft prospects, like this year with Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter.

The Spun: Which current MLB pitchers do you like to study?

DL: I like watching all of them pitch because they all bring something special to the game. Growing up though, I watched a lot of Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. I just really enjoyed watching them from a young age.

The Spun: What would you say right now is your go-to pitch? 

DL: I definitely trust my fastball because of the high velocity. If I had to go with something else, it’d be my changeup. That one-two punch with the fastball and changeup makes me who I am right now. 

The Spun: Vanderbilt always seems to be in the mix to win the College World Series. Is winning an NCAA title on your bucket list?

DL: Of course. I see that they’re always competing and going up against some of the best programs in the country. Having a chance to win a national championship almost every year is really intriguing. 

The Spun: What should Vanderbilt fans expect from Dylan Lesko?

DL: I’d say I’m similar to Jack Leiter. I can go after hitters with my fastball. His [Jack’s] velocity is pretty similar to mine. I’d say I’m more like him than Kumar. He [Kumar] relies more on his breaking stuff, meanwhile I rely on my fastball. 

Vanderbilt has produced a plethora of great pitchers over the years, such as Walker Buehler, Sonny Gray and David Price.

If everything goes according to plan for Lesko, he could be next in line. 

You can read more of The Spun’s interviews with athletes or media stars here.

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